In recent years, the Kiwanis Club (the fine folks behind the annual burning of Zozobra) has opened up a contest for artists to design and create poster artwork for the event and—surprise—this year’s winner is none other than SFR’s MetroGlyphs cartoonist, Russ Thornton! Now, we can’t show you the winning work just yet (it’s complicated but you can see it at burnzozobra.com), but we can tell you that the theme is the 1940s and that Thornton, who worked as a chef for Santa Fe Dining for over 20 years until he chose to pursue a career in art, has created something gorgeous.
“I always thought [Zozobra] was a cool subject and I always wanted to draw one,” Thornton tells us. “It’s supposed to be like an imaginary 1940s Santa Fe, and I was kind of going for a watercolor look.”
Thornton estimates it took him nearly three weeks to create his massive, looming Old Man Gloom and that the process consisted of both pen and ink drawing and digital colorization. “I had to make sure all the elements and layers were the way I wanted them,” Thornton says of him timeline, “and to have the feather in my cap and another experience … I want to represent what I think is cool about Zozobra, and this is in keeping with that style.”
Thornton’s image will appear as the official poster image for this year’s burning of Zozobra which you can buy at the aforementioned website. Thornton’s MetroGlyphs appears exclusively every single week in SFR, both in print and online. If you’re just visiting our fair city and are not familiar with Zozobra, you can see the bizarre pagan ritual in action right here.